Critical Issues when Buying a Stand from Development Projects

Admin August 03, 2022

Many people, especially first time buyers fall prey every year to scammers, bogus agents and illegitimate sales of stands in Zimbabwe and resultantly there have been several demolitions, evictions and repossessions in recent years. 

The trend has been necessitated by a slump in house delivery by the public sector over the last few decades. Private developers have moved in to close the gap, buying large tracts of land in urban peripheries and open spaces within urban areas parceling them out as residential stands. Some unscrupulous developers and bogus landowners have taken advantage of the situation to develop and sell land that doesn’t belong to them by taking over stateland, council land or idle private land without following due process. 

The land is then subdivided and sold to the public as residential stands. Individuals will then buy the stands from private developers and build their own houses (without proper due diligence in most cases), which has given rise to reports of land scams involving bogus estate agents and land barons.

We therefore felt that It is very important to share with you the critical issues to look out for if you decide to go the route of buying a residential stand in urban areas in order to avoid the risk of being duped unsuspectingly. It is in your best interest to verify the authenticity of the stands before you proceed to make a commitment to buy.

Proof of Ownership (for the subject stand or subdivided land)

  • Title deed in case of private ownership.
  • Valid offer/allocation letter and agreement of sale between government or council and the seller (in the name of the seller) in case of State or council land.

Requisite Permits & Due Process 

A proper development would have secured or satisfied the following permits, stages and processes and make it a point to verify the paperwork when buying a development project:

  • Approved subdivision permit (issued by the relevant authority) in case of subdivided private land.
  • Approved layout plans in case of State or council land
  • Approved survey diagram from the Surveyor-General in all cases.
  • Approved engineering designs for water, sewer and roads.
  • Approved infrastructure successfully implemented and approved on site in the form of water, sewer and roads signed for by council.
  • Certificate of compliance- issued by council, certifying that stages 1- 5 above have been done to the relevant council’s satisfaction. 

Estate agents or legal practitioners can help you with the verification (they make it a point to verify registration with respective regulatory bodies) and can also assist you in verifying relevant documents produced by the seller. They also verify with relevant authorities such as Local Authorities, Registrar of Deeds, Surveyor-General, etc.

Everytime when one is buying a stand from a project/development it is important to confirm with the developer, agent or legal advisor that the above documents are available as proof of ownership and compliance before proceeding to conclude the sale:

Share this article

More Articles